Israel in a Flash: NCJW's Gender Equality Initiative
For more than 60 years, NCJW has helped lay the groundwork for important social change efforts in Israel. NCJW is committed to advancing women’s status in Israel by helping women develop a stronger voice at all levels of society. NCJW’s Gender Equality Initiative focuses on freedom to marry, anti-sex trafficking, women in the public sphere, religious pluralism, and women’s empowerment through our Israel Granting Program, advocacy, and education. Online resources offer NCJW members and sections ways to engage locally and nationally in promoting gender equality in Israel.
Use these materials to enhance your work around Gender Equality in Israel and to help you raise awareness in your community.
NCJW Condemns Harassment and Silencing of Israelis Invited to Speak at National LGBT Conference in Chicago
NCJW believes strongly in open dialogue to achieve human rights, women’s rights, and gender equality—even when that dialogue is challenging. Boycotts, denying free speech, and marginalizing and oppressing individuals because of their nationality is offensive. It is particularly disturbing to find an LGBTQ organization—supposedly committed to liberty from societal oppression and respect for diversity—allowing such behavior at their national conference.” Read more from the press release here.
NCJW Announces Grants to Further Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Israel
“NCJW has been partnering with projects in Israel since 1947,” said NCJW CEO Nancy K. Kaufman. “We believe empowerment and equality of women, along with promoting religious pluralism, are key elements in strengthening Israel as a democratic Jewish state with a vibrant civil society. We are proud to support innovative grassroots organizations that further those goals.” Read more from the press release here.
NCJW Hails Israel’s Move to Broaden Access to Western Wall
“The government’s action is a huge victory for egalitarian prayer services, religious tolerance, and gender equality, and for all those, including NCJW, who struggled over many years to make this happen…The decision will help heal a rift that developed over this issue between the government and Jews who are not Orthodox but desired access to the Wall. Addressing this rift will also strengthen ties between Israel and American Jews in particular, most of whom are not Orthodox, but Reform and Conservative.” Read more from the press release here.
NCJW Encouraged by Recent Signing of Trade Act That Includes Protections for Israel Against Boycott Movement
“The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) resolves to work for “policies and programs that promote peaceful co-existence within Israel and between Israel and its neighbors” and to “counter attempts to delegitimize Israel.” NCJW sees a secure Israel as central to the Jewish people and vital to the interests of the United States.” Read more from the press release here.
NCJW Israel Program Basics
- NCJW and Gender Equality
- Commitment to Israel as an NCJW Resolution
- Write a Letter to the Editor, Op-Ed, and Blog Posts
- How to plan a successful parlour meeting
- Israel Study Tour 2015
- NCJW Israel Facebook page
The Israel Granting Program
The NCJW Israel Granting Program addresses the critical challenges still facing women in Israel today, and promotes further progressive action. NCJW emphasizes empowerment and leadership programs for women and girls as well as gender equality as the cornerstones of NCJW’s Israel Granting Program. Grant recipients include organizations and programs designed to address Israeli women’s rights and well-being in areas like economics, politics, education, domestic violence, and social justice.
How to participate in the Israel Granting Program
Current Granting Partners
If you would like more information or are interested in supporting NCJW’s Israel program, please contact Shari Eshet, director of the Israel office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Distance Learning Calls
- January 25, 2016: Repeat of Israel Chairs Call with Shari Eshet
- December 9, 2015: Israel Chairs Call with Shari Eshet, Director of NCJW’s Israel Office
- September 10, 2015: Member of Knesset Rachel Azaria
- July 24, 2014: Shirley Katzir, Director of EDEN Association for At-Risk Teenage Girls
- September 15, 2014: Naomi Schneiderman, Executive Director of the Woman to Woman Jerusalem Shelter for Battered Women
- December 17, 2014: Yifat Bitton, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Tmura – The Israeli Anti-discrimination Legal Center
- February 18, 2015: Professor Naomi Chazan, Dean of Government and Society at the Tel Aviv-Jaffa College.
- February 26, 2016 – NCJW Encouraged by Recent Signing of Trade Act That Includes Protections for Israel Against Boycott Movement
- January 31, 2016 – NCJW Hails Israel’s Move to Broaden Access to Western Wall
- January 25, 2016 – NCJW Announces Grants to Further Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Israel
- January 24, 2016 – NCJW Condemns Harassment and Silencing of Israelis Invited To Speak At National LGBT Conference in Chicago
- December 2, 2015 – NCJW Criticizes National Women’s Studies Association Vote to Join BDS Movement
- November 6, 2015 – Hamutal Gouri to Receive Jewel Bellush Outstanding Israeli Feminist Award
- July 31, 2015 – NCJW Condemns Violence at 2015 Jerusalem Pride March
- July 29, 2015 - NCJW Supports 2015 Jerusalem Pride March
- July 21, 2015 - Regarding the recent negotiations to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon
- July 3, 2015 - NCJW Denounces One-Sided Report on Gaza
- June 8, 2015 - NCJW Disappointed by Supreme Court Ruling on Jerusalem Case
- May 21, 2015 - NCJW Welcomes New Israeli Minister for Gender Equality
- March 24, 2015 - NCJW Denounces Vote by UN Commission on Women Singling Out Israel
Shari Eshet, Director of the NCJW Israel Office, writes a newsletter featuring updates about our gender equality work. If you would like to receive the Israel Connection newsletter, please reach out to Aviva Crystal, NCJW Community Engagement Associate, at email@example.com.
- May 2016 – Special Yom Haatzmaut issue
- March 2016 – Talking about Agunot Awareness
- January 2016 – Announcing our 2016 Israel Granting Partner, Criticising the BDS movement
- September 2015 – Celebrating the appointment of a Minister for Gender Equality, Meeting Justice Elena Kagan
- June 2015 – Israel Granting Program successes, Israel in a Flash is now online
- February 2015 – The Israeli govenement’s National Gender Action Plan, International Agunot Day
Blog Posts and News
- Egalitarian Section of Western Wall ‘Profanes’ Holy site, Haredi Group Agudah Says
February 1, 2016 – JTA
Nancy Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, said in a statement that her organization
“has long promoted equal access to the Western Wall for all Jews regardless of denomination or gender.”
She called the Israeli government’s approval of the plan “a huge victory for egalitarian prayer services,
religious tolerance, and gender equality, and for all those, including NCJW, who struggled over many years
to make this happen.” “The decision will help heal a rift that developed over this issue between the government
and Jews who are not Orthodox but desired access to the Wall. Addressing this rift will also strengthen ties
between Israel and American Jews in particular, most of whom are not Orthodox, but Reform
and Conservative,” Kaufman said.
- To Anat Hoffman, The Rockstar
Shari Eshet, The Times of Israel
“Knowing you, it is the beginning. But knowing how hard and how long you fought, I am hoping, as is all Am Yisrael that you don’t rest on your laurels. I like to think that this announcement by the government of Israel is G-d whispering in your ear saying…Go Anat Go. There is so much to do. You fought the establishment and won. You fought the rabbis and you won. You went up against the politicians and you won. And you won, because you are right. Now you need to continue the fight.”
Issue Focus: Freedom to Marry: Alternatives to Religious Marriage
Israeli law permits only religious marriages held by religious testimony, and does not allow civil marriages, religious intermarriage or same sex marriage. For Jews living in Israel, the Chief Rabbinate has a monopoly over marriage, and only operates under an Orthodox standard. Members of other religions can only marry spouses of the same religion and only by their own recognized religious authority. In cases of Jewish marriage, alternatives to religious marriages is critical when it comes to divorce. The only way to divorce under the rabbinate is for the man to give the woman a gett, a religious divorce, otherwise she becomes an Agunah, a woman who is “chained” to her marriage, unable to remarry. NCJW sees this as an issue that affects all Jewish woman around the world and is a serious restriction of human rights. Learn more about NCJW’s work with Agunot here!
Take Action today! Stand Up for Marriage Rights in Israel
Educate Your Community on the issue
Sentenced to Marriage (Mekudeshet) by Anat Zuria (Documentary)
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem by Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz
‘Gett’: The Horrors of Jewish Divorce (via The Daily Beast)
Majority of Israelis Support Freedom of Religion, Marriage (via the Times of Israel)
“Choose your way to get married in Israel” (via Israel Hofsheet)
Issue Focus: Trafficking of Women
Watch: From Jennifer, with love, to NCJW
Click the image above to watch Jennifer Kim of Turning the Tables, which has received funding through the Israel Granting Program, thank NCJW for their contributions to help her and others break the cycle of prostitution and sex trafficking.
Although trafficking is still a major problem in Israel, the U.S. State Department has reported: “The Government of Israel continues to improve its strong protection of trafficking victims.” However, there are many women in Israel who are being trafficked into the sex trade. NCJW has lobbied the Israeli government on this issue and has helped fund various organizations in Israel who work with victims of sex trafficking.
NCJW Talking Points: Combating Sex Trafficking in Israel
- A Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children from the Protection Project
- Turning the Tables
- Isha L’Isha – Haifa Feminist Center Fighting Against Trafficking in Women in Israel
Issue Focus: Women in the public sphere
The rise of fanaticism in the religious sector has lead to the diminished rights of women in the public sphere in Israel.The spaces where women’s involvement has been limited include the army, the school system and in government – both local and national. NCJW has been working with other organizations in Israel and beyond to help stop the discriminatory effect on the rights of women in the public spheres.
Yerushalmim Wins Bus Brawl: High Court Rules in Favor of Bus Ads Featuring Women of All Types (via the Times of Israel)
We welcome your feedback! To share comments, tell us about your efforts, or ask a question, contact Shari Eshet, director NCJW Israel Office, firstname.lastname@example.org
The NCJW Gender Equality in Israel Initiative is made possible in part by the generous contributions of the Friends of the NCJW Israel Programs fund. Click here for information on becoming a supporter.